November 18, 2021
Netflix has ordered the 10-episode series “Blockbuster,” an ensemble comedy about the last standing Blockbuster Video store, headlined by Korean actor Randall Park (The Interview).
Created by showrunner Vanessa Ramos (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), the workplace series aims to find laughs in a small business struggling to survive in an industry/market that has left it behind.
“To say getting to make a show about a place I love, with my friends Jackie and David, and Randall Park as our star is a dream come true, somehow feels like an understatement,” Ramos said in a media interview. “I could not be more grateful to [the] whole team at Netflix for being on board with so many weird jokes.”
Blockbuster Video, which once operated 9,000 stores, among other subsidiaries, filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Dish Network attempted to operate the remaining stores as an eventual retail footprint for cellular phones and wireless products. When that failed, the chain shut down, but there remains one last Blockbuster Video store standing in Bend, Ore., with the owner also renting out the store as a themed Airbnb.
Of course the biggest joke is that Netflix is streaming an original series about an erstwhile competitor, from back before the SVOD behemoth transitioned from its pioneering by-mail DVD rental business model.
Netflix co-founders Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in the late ’90s founded the company in part due to Hastings’ frustration with having to pay late fees for his Blockbuster movie rentals.
Soon after Netflix launched operations, Blockbuster rolled out its own by-mail disc rental platform — a move that so terrified Hastings & Co., they approached Blockbuster CEO Jim Antioco in 2000 about a possible merger. Hastings and former CFO Barry McCarthy were reportedly laughed out of Blockbuster’s corporate boardroom in Dallas.
As is well known, Hastings got the last laugh.